Talking of virtual goods being a growing marketplace, it had to happen – Google +1s are now were for sale. It will undoubtedly occur again but do not, repeat do not, buy any if you value your hard won position on Google because it is ‘gaming’ the results and Google take a dim view of it.

However, it was inevitable that as soon as Google announced the importance of social signals and introduced the +1 that someone, somewhere would find a way to sell it as a service. With digital labour being so cheap, as long as you can find someone to work for less than you can sell the product, you are quids (or pennies) in.

It’s an interesting quandary for the search engine. Once again, it’s gaming the results, or attempting to, but encouraging people to get behind the +1 will encourage its uptake and use by far more people. And Google needs people to understand far better how its products and services work as a staggering majority still seem to have failed to grasp even the basics of the search engine.

Facebook has educated people into Likes and the +1 button shows on your Google Public profile if you enable it, but it will begin to affect what search results you see if you are logged in to Google when you search, which does not happen with Facebook Likes. This increase in the use of social signals in search, by looking at who has recommended what from within your social network, will see a growing reliance on +1s by brands seeking to work on the power of personal or social networks to drive sales.

However, these +1s for your content need to be gathered by producing great content rather than trying to buy clicks. It is likely we will see a huge amount of clicking on +1s funded by brands if the buying links saga is anything to go by, but don’t fall for it. Google has rapped knuckles extremely hard in the past for such tricks and it can be a time-consuming process to resolve.

If you want to make best use of the +1, make sure you add it to ALL of your content and make it very simple for your users to +1 and tweet, or Like on Facebook, or post to LinkedIn etc, because invariably those who are already sharing content will be using at least one tool to do so in order to reach out to those they know in various different places.

For instance, you may have noticed that we have added the Wibya bar at the bottom of the pages so that you can quickly and easily share any content on Clickthrough Marketing with others.

Feel free to +1 us!

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About the author:

A practising internet marketing consultant since 1996, Lindsey Annison helps companies improve their website marketing, online PR and information architecture. Lindsey is also a qualified adult education lecturer and author. As co-founder of the Access to Broadband Campaign, she has been instrumental in the provision of high-speed internet access to rural areas in the UK. Lindsey is also a past winner of's Outstanding Contribution to UK Technology